Lowrance iWay 600c
The iWay 600c is a navigate-anywhere portable plotter featuring a bright five-inch touchscreen and a 30-gigabyte hard drive nearly filled with cartography. That includes Lowrance's complete NauticPath U.S. coastal charts (significantly improved from the original version), more than 3,000 U.S. lakes, all U.S. and Canadian roads, 5.5 million POIs, and even photo maps of many urban areas. Plus you can easily load the remaining 5 gigs with music files, which the 600c will pipe into your car or boat's sound system via an FM modulator, even fading tunes out and in smoothly when it verbalizes turn-by-turn driving advice. In my testing it earned high marks on the road and as an MP3 player, but marine navigation seemed somewhat an afterthought, lacking some conventional screens like a waypoint highway and traditional measurements like nautical miles. You can expect software improvements, but even now the 600c could serve as primary plotter on a small boat or as a nifty backup and entertainment source on a bigger one. Note that this iWay is a chunky 2.5 pounds and requires external 12- or 110-volt power. We're starting to see much of this touchscreen navigate-anywhere versatility in smaller, battery-powered forms, one of which I'll review next month.
This article originally appeared in the August 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.